With Cubans drowning while trying to get out of their country, it is a trifle difficult to imagine Havana winning any of the “best city to live in” awards and when it comes to breaking up demonstrations the evidence would appear to suggest that the Cuban police don’t have to look to any of Washington’s less salubrious friends to provide an example on how that is done.
However, interesting was how, before going on to point out some of the very basic rights that are fulfilled in Cuba, Raul Castro reacted to claims of human rights abuses by saying that no country complies with all of the 61 international instruments used for the recognition of civil and human rights. Now, at this point, logic would dictate that it is only left to inform Mr Castro that his government should tackle those areas where human rights are being abused and who knows, with a little bit of effort Cuba could even try to be the first country to fulfill all 61 international instruments. Therefore, Mr Castro, no one-upmanship on this, until this has happened.
However, if the Cuban president is being the one-eyed man when it comes to his country’s failings, we really do enter the kingdom of the blind, or at least the kingdom of the two-faced hypocrites, when a roll call of those who are criticising the Castro brothers human rights abuses is made.
Firstly, we have, the former Bush speechwriter, Marc Thiessen, a practicing Roman Catholic, saying “waterboarding suspected terrorists was not only useful and desirable, but permitted by the teachings of the Catholic Church.” Yes, the man who cut and pasted Bush’s gobbledygook would appear to be as big a fool as his former boss and doesn’t he know that the Catholic Church not only permitted torture, but actually revelled in it? If it had been up to the Vatican we would be denying gravity on a flat planet, which, incidentally, was not too dissimilar to what Galileo actually had to do in order to live out his life under house arrest rather than suffer a very disagreeably painful, slow, death.
Then, there is John Bolton who has criticised Obama for going to Cuba after saying that he would only go once there “were improvements in the area of human rights there”, before adding that “not only has there been no improvement, things have been going in the wrong direction.” Yes, the same neo-conservative John “Zionist” Bolton who is forced to spend some of his time dodging an arrest for war crimes.
However, the list of hypocrites is long. There is “Der Sturmer” from Fox’s, Bill O’Reilly, who after a 2006 visit to Guantanamo Bay, either denied, or ignored, the fact that people are being tortured there. Only to admit that in June 2009 they were being tortured, but that was really ok, because if torture were illegal, “Bush and Cheney would have been arrested.” And this is a man who thinks Obama shouldn’t visit Cuba because it is a “human-rights violator.” Still, as has been stated, the list is long, too long, and drawing up a list of two-faced hypocrites would mean listing a “who’s, who” in American public life.
The fact is only last year the United Nations issued a “scathing assessment” of Washington’s human rights record and in the process made “348 recommendations that address myriad human rights violations in the United States”. Might this be what Castro meant when he tried to defend his government? Of course, that defence was a bit like the pot calling the kettle black. That is why it would be better for Havana to follow the advice given at the end of paragraph two. Nevertheless, the bigger, the much bigger, problem, is the holier-than-thou United States of America and the two-faced hypocrites that defend it. Indeed, without those two-faced hypocrites, Uncle Sam might just start to clean up his act and, who knows, the world might just become a slightly better, and slightly safer, place.